The Four Seasons returned to Chicago Tuesday night for a limited one-week engagement of the hit musical "Jersey Boys" that brings alive the sounds of the 60's and 70's-- and "Oh What a Night" it was.
I say this every time I see this addictive musical that just keeps giving. It's no wonder the show returns again and again ever since its ground-breaking opening in New York in November of 2005.
Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, the show won the 2006 Tony® Award for Best Musical, the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award® -winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
It was a full house Tuesday night in Chicago with the crowd cheering and clapping along with such classics as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You."
Most people come to Jersey Boys for the music and that would be reason enough. But "Jersey Boys" also tells a compelling story based on the real life of The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi--Four blue-collar guys from Jersey who hit it big after a rocky start selling 175 million records worldwide--all before they were thirty.
Nothing is sugar-coated in the story. We see the group, warts and all, from brushes with the law, life on the road and their rocky relationships with their families.
The current touring production, that will only be in Chicago through April 7, features a cast that is as good (if not better) than any that I've seen. The lead performers (Eric Chambliss plays Bob Gaudio, Jonathan Cable as Nick Massi and Cory Greenan as Tommy DeVito) are pitch perfect with their music and they can act too.
Cory Greenan's Tommy captures the complicated soul of the good guy/bad guy founder of the group. While Jonny Wexler (Frankie Valli) brings the house down capturing Valli's famous falsetto to a T--never missing a beat,,
The "Jersey Boys: design and production team comprises Klara Zieglerova (Scenic Design), Jess Goldstein (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (winner of the 2006 Tony® Award for his Lighting Design of JERSEY BOYS), Steve Canyon Kennedy (Sound Design), Michael Clark (Projections Design), Charles LaPointe (Wig and Hair Design), Steve Orich (Orchestrations) and Ron Melrose (Music Supervision, Vocal/Dance Arrangements & Incidental Music). Jersey Boys is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.
Although the physical features of the show have been stripped down some from past productions, "Jersey Boys" is still a very entertaining night at the theater--especially at Chicago's historic Auditorium Theatre.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
What: Jersey Boys
Where: Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.).
When: now through April 7
Tickets: $30-$115, Broadway in Chicago
Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes
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Filed under: Theater in Chicago